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. Europe ready to review Iran nuclear proposals: Solana
WASHINGTON (AFP) May 04, 2005
The European Union might be open to a compromise to allow Iran to keep a small part of its controversial nuclear activities if it swore not to produce an atomic bomb, the top EU diplomat signaled Wednesday.

Javier Solana, on a visit to Washington, made his remarks while negotiators for Germany, France and Britain labored to keep alive talks with Tehran seeking to wean it off its suspected nuclear weapons ambitions.

The so-called EU-3, backed by the United States, are looking for what they call objective guarantees from the Islamic republic that it will cease all efforts to produce enriched uranium that could go into a bomb.

"For the moment they have not come up with anything which will give us the same kind of guarantees that a cessation (of uranium enrichment) will bring," Solana said. "They have to put some ideas on the table."

"At the end, pretty close to full cessation is probably the only guarantee that would be objective," Solana said.

His comments appeared to contrast with the US position that Iran must definitively halt all uranium enrichment, which is currently suspended, and dismantle any equipment related to such activity.

"Our view is that this suspension has to be turned into a full cessation. And we've made that clear I think," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Wednesday. "The Europeans in fact have made that clear.

The United States has been sceptical of European efforts to talk Iran out of its nuclear ambitions with economic and security incentives but has actively backed the initiative since March.

A senior State Department official said Wednesday he doubted there was any daylight between the United States and the Europeans as the negotiations with Iran come down to the crunch.

"I know one is always suspicious but ... the Europeans have been pretty stalwart on this," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Iran, which denies seeking nuclear arms, Wednesday stuck by its determination to make its own nuclear fuel, but said it still wanted to continue the EU talks to ease international concern.

"If they (the Iranians) come up with something new, revolutionary, a new idea, we are willing to analyze it," Solana said.

"For the moment they have not come up with anything which will give us the same kind of guarantees that a cessation (of uranium enrichment) will bring," he added. "They have to put some ideas on the table."

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has indicated she was giving the EU-3 talks until the summer before considering whether to seek tougher action against the Iranians for their nuclear program.

"I would just say that we are all very clear that the international community has, as a step that it could take, referral to the (UN) Security Council," she told a joint news conference Tuesday with Solana.

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